While waiting at the airport gate with the entire family, post-Family Wedding Extravaganza, Boy and Boy2 were playing with their brand new toy airplanes, courtesy of Grandpa (aka The Man who Can’t Say No) and the gift shop across the way. Our family commandeered five adjacent seats, a rarity at an airport gate, slowly acquired by driving others away. That young guy in the plaid shirt that had a seat in the middle of our straight flush vacated fairly quickly, finding another corner of the waiting room far more inviting.
As usual in these types of situations, I was a little tense. Our three children hold within them the potential to wreak great havoc in public spaces. Girl had already possession of Grandma’s iPad and was seated at a nearby electronics plug-in station getting tips on how to master Candy Crush from a kindly college-aged woman.
Next to me was an empty seat, and then a nice-looking older woman at the end of the row of seats. Boy and Boy2 had discovered there was a perfectly-sized path behind our seats where they could play, and then crawl out through the other side, i.e. where respectable people’s legs rested.
Their airplanes made taking off sounds as they emerged from below the seats and rolled into the open carpet. Then came the two bodies, crawling through after, then running around to the back, repeat, repeat, repeat.
I debated what line I wanted to draw. Allow them to run around this woman at the end and then behind us and through? I really should do something.
The woman looked over at me – actually smiling, not scowling –and said, “They are being so good.”
It took me a moment to register the comment and the fact that she was not being sarcastic. Here she was, this woman full witness to their play, and she thought they were good.
“I’m glad you think so!” I laughed.
We’ve heard comments like this often from others, and it’s still surprising to hear.
We were recently at a gathering and met a new family who had three young children as well. While the adults chatted on the deck, Girl and Boy (Boy2 was napping at home with the grandparents) immediately proceeded to engage in imaginative play with the other kids in the backyard. Girl (the oldest) was ringleader and the sounds of the children’s laughter and play made me marvel at how quickly fun could be formed among child strangers.
When we were leaving, the children’s mother said to me, “Your children are adorable and so well-behaved. I want a playdate with Girl!”
The outside view of our children can be enlightening. I’m glad to have it. They show me the magic and goodness of my children that I sometimes forget among the Battle Royales, whinefests, and less fine moments that can make me forget just how special they really are.